Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bloomy Spares 1 Ax Hack by David Seifman - New York Post

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COMPTROLLER Bill Thompson's office was spared the across-the-board budget reductions ordered by Mayor Bloomberg throughout city government because of an odd decision by the mayor's own budget office.

The Office of Management and Budget generously gave the comptroller a $6 million credit for turning up hidden revenue in an audit he released last May.

Thompson discovered that the United Nations Development Corp., a quasi-government agency, was sitting on a surplus of $12 million that rightly belonged in city coffers.

The UNDC quickly forked over $6,006,000.

So when Bloomberg last month required every city agency to come up with 7.5 percent in savings over the next 18 months, Thompson cashed in his "credit" and averted painful cuts.

Mayoral aides said the comptroller was simply taking advantage of an option open to all agencies and elected officials: reduce your budget or find equivalent new revenues.

One source speculated that the mayor's office didn't want to antagonize Thompson, who's mulling an election challenge to Bloomberg in 2009, because of the comptroller's sweeping powers to audit just about any city agency he chooses.